Four Women Appointed to Endowed Chairs at Elon University in North Carolina

Elon University in North Carolina has announced the appointment of five faculty members to endowed chairs. “These professorships have been established through the generosity of alumni, parents, trustees, and friends of the university. Being selected as the recipient of such a professorship is a high honor which indicates that the faculty member is respected for excellence in teaching, scholarship, mentoring, and service to the university,” Elon President Connie Ledoux Book said.

Four of the five appointments went to women.

Sheila Otieno has been honored with the Distinguished Emerging Scholar in Religious Studies professorship. Dr. Otieno came to Elon from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where she taught religious studies and was an affiliate faculty in the African and African American, Latin American, and gender studies programs. Dr. Otieno earned a master’s degree in theological studies from Duke University and a master of divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. She holds a doctorate in social ethics from the Boston University School of Theology.

Kristina Meinking has been selected as the inaugural Trustee Chair for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Dr. Meinking joined the faculty at Elon in 2010 as a visiting professor of Latin and classical studies in the department of world languages and cultures. She was promoted to assistant professor in 2012, associate professor in 2017, and full professor this year. Dr. Meinking is a graduate of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She earned a Ph.D. in classics at the University of Southern California.

Ann Cahill, professor of philosophy and director of the National and International Fellowships Office, was named a University Distinguished Professor. She joined the faculty at Elon in 1998. She has a longstanding interest in the theoretical and ethical questions surrounding sexual assault. She has also published on topics such as beautification, miscarriage, and, most recently, the ethical, political, and social meanings of voice as human-generated sound. Professor Cahill earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at Stony Brook University of the State University of New York System.

Mary Jo Festle, Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of History, has been named a University Distinguished Professor. She served for 10 years as an associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at the university. She is the author of Transforming History: A Guide to Effective, Inclusive, and Evidence-Based Teaching (University of Wisconsin Press, 2020) and Playing Nice: Politics and Apologies in Women’s Sports (Columbia University Press, 1996). Dr. Festle is a graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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